Oct 12, 2020
The British government confirmed on Sunday it would be bringing back restrictions to combat the rising number of confirmed cases. The new measures are expected to be announced today, with a three-tier system put in place.
Under these new “Local COVID Alert Levels” measures, the country will be divided into “medium,” “high,” and “very high” risk categories. Government offices are currently working with local authorities to decide which areas will be placed in which categories.
While exact details of what the new measures will entail remaining sketchy, the “very high” category is expected to call for closures of restaurants, bars, and pubs along with a ban on household mixing.
The deputy chief medical officer for England, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, had warned the country regressing the March levels of COVID infections.
“But we can prevent history repeating itself if we all act now,” he said. “Now we know where it is and how to tackle it — let’s grasp this opportunity and prevent history from repeating itself.”
The United Kingdom isn’t alone in facing a resurgence of COVID cases and related deaths. The whole of Europe is in the grip of a new wave of confirmed cases as lock-downs were lifted during the summer months, and economies went back into full swing.
The fear is that the U.K. will be under overwhelming pressure with cyclical winter-related illnesses such as the flu, already putting the National Health Service (NHS) under severe pressure. A second COVID wave would severely impact the ability to treat new patients. The U.K. has had over 48,000 deaths from the pandemic, the deadliest outbreak in Europe.
Cities in the North of England have seen the highest rates of new infections, with Liverpool, Newcastle, and Manchester the worst hit. While infection rates in the south have been below 20 new cases per 100,000 population, the corresponding number in the north of the country has risen above 500 per 100,000 people, on par with Spain and Belgium’s hardest-hit parts.
Glasgow and Edinburgh, the largest cities in Scotland, have already seen pub closures put in place. In England, a 10 pm curfew on pubs and restaurants is in place. Authorities in Liverpool are particularly downbeat, fully expecting particularly severe new restrictions for the city.